Associations align nationally on Covid test sites
Trucking industry seeks two nationwide facilities to reduce testing times
Industry wants to open two national facilities
The Australian trucking industry is taking national leadership on truck driver Covid testing, calling for the creation of two national road transport industry testing and vaccination points.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and its member states and territories are calling on the federal government to establish test points, with the aim of reducing wait times for test results and supporting vaccination requirements.
“Recently we saw the example of two truck drivers who tested positive in WA. They had taken a Covid test in NSW, but it took three days to process the results,” said Cam Dumesny, CEO of the Western Roads Federation. (WRF).
“Similar delays are occurring with testing in Katherine, Northern Territory, where highway freight drivers are forced to go to the local hospital to get tested for compliance. Results can take three days to be processed. “
The proposal recommended that 24-hour Covid testing sites be set up at Port Augusta in South Australia and at the NT border checkpoint at Barkly Highway Roadhouse in the Northern Territory.
“These are just two points through which almost all national east-west road freight movements have to pass,” said Michael Deegan, CEO of ATA.
“These sites would also protect the north-south route from Port Augusta to Darwin.”
Read QTA Has Boosted Its Rapid Test Call To End The Truck Queue, Here
The proposal requires that the sites be accessible at all times, with on-site staff able to administer vaccines and quickly return test results.
“To meet their mandatory testing obligations and reduce the risk of unintentional transmission of Covid across borders, road freight drivers must have access to 24-hour testing facilities,” said Louise Bilato, Chief Executive Officer of the NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA).
“We have relied too much on truck drivers to do Covid tests and vaccinations in hospitals and medical clinics which only take reservations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. It is more and more dangerous,” he said. she declared.
Steve Shearer, CEO of the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA), believes operating interstate road freight in the Covid era is a national challenge.
“It is essential that the Australian government help states and territories by funding key immunization and testing facilities that serve interstate truck drivers so that we can continue to support the community and the economy,” Shearer said.
Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon agreed.
“The QTA continues to advocate strongly for more consistent cross-border testing requirements and would support the establishment of test centers located on major freight routes to enable truck drivers to perform the essential freight delivery service in a secure manner. faster and more transparent, ”says Mahon.
“We also advocate a reduction in the frequency of testing required for fully vaccinated truck drivers, with rapid antigen testing being the preferred option.
“PCR testing should only be needed if there is a positive rapid antigen test.”
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